What I've learned in my first year of sobriety...

(Originally posted on www.FromWinetoFine.com)

Holy sh*t!?! I DID IT!!! I've gone 365 days without a SINGLE DROP OF AlCOHOL!

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could go this long without my sweet escape, my crutch, my friend- but I sure did! And I'm just so dang happy because of it!

Truth be known this was no smooth ride; not at all! But somewhere along the way the tracks balanced out. Living sober is just how I live now, and I'm 100% OK with this lifestyle. Honestly, it's waaaayyyy better than the anxiety-induced, hungover, bloated, selfish, dramatic, and self-loathing life of being a drunk mom.

I'm free, folks! I'm flying high on LIFE! And the best part? I'm just getting started!!

So what have I learned in my first year of sobriety?

  • Going to bed early Going to bed early (rather than passing out) and waking early (sans hangover) makes for really fulfilling days.

  • The tempting voice in your head actually quiets down over time. In fact, most days it's on mute.

  • Breaking drinking habits and routines are hard, but it can be done! You just have to create new habits and be persistent.

  • You don't need AA, but you do need to have a support system.

  • There is a major correlation between anxiety and alcohol. The less you drink, the less anxious you feel. Who knew?!? Buh, bye anti-anxiety meds!

  • You take on your roles in life (i.e. mom, wife, professional) much better when you're completely present.

  • You gain back so much time! Hello, new or postponed hobbies!

  • Your sweet tooth really speaks up when you stop drinking, but you feel lifetimes less guilty indulging in ice cream or cookies rather than blacking out.

  • You deflate (aka lose weight)! (Unless you're eating too much ice cream...;).

  • You reverse time on your skin and eyes!

  • You save money (aka you can spend your money elsewhere, like on massages, new clothes, those in need...).

  • You really start to figure out your feelings. It's like you're in elementary school, again, and you learn how to identify mad, sad, scared, tired, confused, and happy.

  • You learn new ways of coping with those identified feelings.

  • You have funky days, but that comes whether you're sober or not. It's called LIFE!

  • There are a lot of others out there in your shoes. Find them! Connect with them!

  • You're not crazy! Alcohol just made you feel that way. (OK, maybe sometimes you're still crazy ;).

  • Brain space and pleasant thoughts are returned to you on a golden platter. You don't have to think, plot, plan, dread, justify, worry, etc. You get to think about all things good that don't involve alcohol!

  • Get-togethers are way more pleasant because you're completely present. When you laugh, cry, chat, and listen, you're all in! You're experiencing those moments as they are supposed to be.

  • You learn your own boundaries.

  • You start to love yourself because you're finally getting to know yourself.

  • You live more authentically because you're not carrying the weight of shame, guilt or embarrassment.

  • Your empathy for others sky rockets!

But the biggest lesson learned--hands down-- is that you're a lot tougher than you think.

You really can do hard things and conquer. You were built to be challenged and to be rewarded when you overcome a challenge. The reward for living a sober life? An appreciation for life! I don't know about you, but I'd say that's one of the best rewards we could ever achieve!

Gratitude. Peace. Self-worth. Joy. That's what you receive when we break up with any self-destructive habit that's preventing you from living your best life. It doesn't even have to be drinking! Maybe it's a poor diet, an abusive relationship, an eating disorder, working too much, etc. Letting the chains fall, taking a leap of faith, fighting through the tough patches, and staying the course will make it SO WORTH IT in the end. I promise. Cliche, but oh-so-true, if I can do it, you can do it, too!

Thanks to each of you for joining me, supporting me, and cheering me on during this first year of my new life. I thank God for each of you, and I am here if ever the favor needs to be returned. Much love, always!

Now to go kick some second year bootay!

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